We’d like to discuss with you today the debilitating condition of the pediatric flatfoot. We treat a lot of kids in my practice. And today, I want to talk about one of the more common problems we treat in children: pediatric flat feet. This is a surprisingly contentious issue in the medical literature.
First of all, let’s just define what we’re talking about.
The reason it tends to be so controversial is that first of all, some kids are meant to have flat feet. For some people, it’s just normal for them to have a flat foot, and that’s not necessarily pathologic. But on other people, it’s not normal for them to have a flat foot, and that is pathologic.
So the first thing we have to understand about children is they are born with flat feet. So up to about age three or four, it’s normal to have a very flat foot.
And it’s often called the three Fs.
Children’s feet tend to be flat, fat, and floppy. They’re just quite loose, then they just tend to go down.
And that’s fine. The problems occur when that flatness continues past the age of three, four, and up to five or six. By the time age six occurs, children are going to have the arch that they’re going to have as adults. So, as we said, the issue gets to be that in some kids having that overly flat foot…we can look at it regardless of your child’s age and say, okay, this is flatter than it should be for their age, or it’s normal for their age. And we can look at it and say whether or not it’s normal. But for some kids, it is okay to be flatter, and for other kids, it’s not.
What Does It Mean When A Child Has Flat Feet?
The first thing we want to look at is whether or not your child has a flatter-than-average foot. Is it causing problems? So, first of all, does your child have foot pain? If they have foot pain, we’re almost always going to treat a pediatric flat foot, and the way we treat it usually is to support it.
In children, we usually use over-the-counter arch support. This is one of our favourite brands here because it is made like a custom orthotic and has quite a deep heel cup, which is essential for flat feet.
It has a lovely wide arch, which is essential for flat feet. And it’s pretty high in the arch, so it supports that foot nicely. So this is an excellent, inexpensive way to treat the problem. And since children tend to grow very quickly, they grow out of these devices quickly, and we can just move on to the next size. And then, eventually, they may get a custom orthotic if they have a very flat foot.
- Number one is if your child has a flat foot and it causes pain, we’re almost always going to treat the problem.
- Number two is if your child has a flat foot and there’s a family history of flat feet that has led to problems like arthritis in the foot, or they have bunions or hammer toes, all these things can be associated with a flat foot. And if we see a family history of that, we’re more likely to treat it.
- On the other hand, if the whole family has flat feet and they are great athletes, they never have foot pain, and your child has a flat foot and doesn’t have foot problems, we’re less likely to want to treat them that problem. So this is something if you’re concerned and your child does have flatter than an average arch, you think it’s worth coming in to see us if you’re in our area.
If you’re not in our area, find a podiatrist specializing in pediatric foot problems and see them.
If you want more information on children’s flat feet, just book your appointment. We offer a free consultation. We have all kinds of information on different types of orthotics that can be used. There’s a lot of information on children’s shoes and what to look out for to know if your child should be checked out.
Symptoms of Pediatric Flat Feet
The good news is that most cases of pediatric flat feet are painless or even asymptomatic. However, some cause difficulty, and unfortunately, your child may not always be completely forthcoming with you about any symptoms they may be experiencing. That means you’ll also have to listen to your child and oversee them. Signs your child may be having problems include:
- Pain, cramping, or tenderness in the lower legs, including feet and knees
- Limping or awkward walking, or changes in walking gait
- Heels that appear to tilt outward
- Lower energy or early withdrawal from physical activity
- Frequent requests to be carried
- Difficulty wearing shoes
How Are Pediatric Flat Feet?
Pediatric flat feet that cause problems usually need no treatment. Kids with flat feet should wear supportive, well-fitting shoes but don’t need shoe inserts. They can do all the things that other children do.
Flat feet that cause pain or are linked to bone problems or tight tendons might need treatment. This could include shoe inserts to support the arch, physical therapy, special exercises, casting, or rarely surgery. Kids with problems with flat feet usually need to see an orthopedic healthcare provider specializing in bones and joints.
Children Flat Foot And Foot Pain Are Not Normal!
Possibly as high as 50% of children suffer from flat foot syndrome. Many parents notice problems in their children’s feet but do not know how they should be treated. When the foot flattens in a child, it can lead to problems in the bones of the foot. A flat foot can cause the foot to pronate and roll inside, damaging the structure of the foot. This rolling in can cause the lower leg to rotate, causing foot or knee pain. Flat feet can make it hard for a child to play sports. Flat feet can even interfere with a child’s ability to walk normally. Imbalances in the feet can eventually affect the developing child’s hips and back. at Sports & Spinal Solutions Clinic, we use our high experience to diagnose and treat pediatric flat feet in children.
Correctly made orthotics are effective in treating flat feet in children and adults.
If treated early enough, flat feet and children can be corrected with foot orthotics. Get your child checked today at Sports & Spinal Solutions Clinic and have a better opportunity to enjoy life.
Flat feet cause serious health problems. Flat feet can be corrected with proper and timely intervention. Sports & Spinal Solutions Clinic fix foot problems effectively.